Like the civilizations of China,
India and the Ancient Near East, the early American civilizations
developed an astrology, a logic of the sky. Archaeological evidence
Native American astrology points to origins as far back as 600
BC, and perhaps even earlier. Unlike the astrologies of the
Old World, the astrology of ancient Mesoamerica (Mexico and
parts of Central America) developed in isolation and was not
influenced by other traditions. Its very nature therefore is
very different from the astrological traditions Westerners are
more familiar with.
All of the Mesoamerican civilizations, Olmec, Toltec, Maya,
Zapotec and Aztec, used essentially the same astrology. Although
the names of symbols varied, the
concepts remained the same. Because the Aztecs were the predominant
civilization at the time of the Spanish Conquest, we have chosen
to use their symbol names in this modern reconstruction of the
Mesoamerican astrological tradition.
At the core of Mesoamerican astrology are the 20 day-signs.
Like the 12 signs of the Western Zodiac, these are signs descriptive
of both personality and possibility.
In other words, the signs can be used to describe a person,
or they can describe an event. In the Western 12-sign zodiac,
the signs are sections of space spread across the sky along
the path of the Sun, Moon and planets. The Maya/Aztec day-signs
are very different, they are based on time and are actually
names of days. Each sign lasts only one day, until it comes
up again twenty days later. Like our 7-day week, which is astrological
and named for the planets, the Maya and Aztecs used a 20-day
week for astrological purposes.
There is no presently known reason why the Maya and Aztecs used
only 20 signs. Perhaps they had discovered an important biorhythm
or cycle. But besides the 20-days, they also used a 13-day cycle
(or sign) and these intertwined with each other. While the days
of the 20-day cycle each have a name, the days of the 13-day
cycle are numbered from 1 to 13. If you start both cycles together,
the first day of the 20-day cycle coinciding with the first
day of the 13-day cycle, it will take exactly 260 days for all
possible combinations of day and number to occur. This period,
260 days, is the length of the sacred Mesoamerican astrological
calendar that this program is based on.
The 20 day-signs each have several names depending on
translation and a symbol. The names of these with a brief meaning
are listed below.
Crocodile (Alligator, IMIX) = (east) - protective
Wind (IK) = (north) - agile, clever and multifaceted.
Night (House, Akbal) = (west) - deep, thoughtful
Seed (Lizard, Kan) = (south) - active, dynamic
Serpent (Chicchan) = (east) - powerful and
Transformer (Death, Cimi) = (north) - sacrificing
Deer (Manik) = (west) - cooperative and nomadic.
Star (Rabbit, Lamat) = (south) - clever and
Offering (Water, Muluc) = (east) - emotional
Dog (Oc) = (north) - loyal and helpful.
Monkey (Chuen) = (west) - clever and demonstrative.
Road (Grass, Eb) = (south) - careful and useful.
Reed (Ben) = (east) - knowledgable and crusading.
Jaguar (Ocelot, IX) = (north) - intelligent
Eagle (Men) = (west) - free and independent.
Wisdom (Vulture, CIB) = (south) - authoritative
Earth (Earthquake, Caban) = (east) - intellectual
Flint (Knife, Etznab) = (north) - self-sufficient
Storm (Rain, Cauac) = (west) - helpful and
Sun (Flower, Ahau) = (south) - loving and artistic.
You may have noticed that each of the signs is connected to
a particular direction. The signs of the east are initiating
and forceful. Those of the north are intellectual and critical.
Signs of the west are cooperative and compromising. Signs of
the south are emotional and reactive.
The Sun Sign (also called day-sign) a person was born under
is the named day that occurred on their birthday. It delineates
their most obvious personality characteristics and traits. A
person is also born during one of twenty 13-day periods, periods
that begin with a day-sign linked to the number 1. The 13-day
period delineates their more subtle, possibly subconscious,
personality qualities. It shows their deeper instincts and yearnings.
The combination of day-sign and 13-day period yields a quite
complete personality description, perhaps as good or even better
than does the Western 12-sign zodiac.